About the book:
Willow Springs Books is pleased to announce the 9th volume of our Surrealist Poetry Series: Tooth & Shoe by Heikki Huotari.
Simultaneously hyper organized and utterly chaotic, Tooth and Shoe asks us to take a second glance at the seeming normality of our daily lives. Keeping with the American Surrealist tradition, Huotari’s leaps of semantic faith confront us with the bizarre nature of our time. In this chapbook, Huotari’s lyrical prose poems oscillate between intense moments of scientific clarity and non sequitur absurdity — “if I own the microscope, the microscope has never bitten me or I have never seen the microscope before today I’ll say, My microscope won’t bite” — in order to isolate moments of oddity. In this chapbook, Huotari reminds us that, while the world is comprised of an entirely entropic chaos just beneath our thin veneer of reality, “the universe is largely laughing matter.”
As a child, Heikki Huotari attended a one-room school and spent summers on a forest-fire lookout tower. As an adolescent, he served, against his will, in the Vietnam-era army and was discharged, medically and/or as a conscientious objector. As a professor of mathematics, he held down a corner in the study of statistical inference and the shapes of the related metric spaces. On retirement from academia in 2012, he became a would-be poet. To date, he has published poems in forty or so journals, including Crazyhorse, The Journal, Fifth Wednesday and Spillway, one collection, and two chapbooks, one of which won the Gambling The Aisle prize. He is constantly amazed at his good luck.
With a wink to tradition and a nod to semantics, Heikki Huotari’s lively prose poems shatter our expectations of what can possibly occur within each small windowpane of language. The work of these deft, musical pieces is to reinvent both the poem and prose itself, all while referencing a scientific theory or name-dropping Santa. “Waldo, where am I?” one poem asks. Lucky for us, over and over we find Huotari’s mesmerizing speaker world-reporting on the comically urgent, on the seriously absurd, always from this beautiful “designated remote protest zone” we can now hold in our hands.
— Trey Moody